NFP makes me think about being married. Thinking about being married makes me think about my husband. Thinking about my husband makes me think about all the things that I thought I knew about love and marriage and how the truth is very different, but in most cases, better! As we are knee deep in wedding/anniversary season, here are five things I would like to pass on to those just starting their journey together: ( In response to http://nfpandme.blogspot.com/2012/07/my-advice-for-newlyweds-linkup.html)
1. Just because he is the cleanest guy out of all the guys he lives with, doesn’t mean he is clean by your own standards. To be fair, I am not sure there are many people that are clean by my standards, but I definitely had delusions regarding the general cleanliness of our home together that involved us happily scrubbing the bathroom surfaces together while we chatted and listened to music. It is nothing like that. We have worked out an inside/outside arrangement for the most part as I seem to despise nature as much as he hates cleaning out the fridge. Efficient, but not as fun as the delusion!
2. His baseball card obsession does not magically disappear because you are now married and living together. He will not stop wanting to “catch a card show” on the weekends any more than you will stop wanting to go to the art museum. Life will get easier when you stop trying to leave the cards behind and instead move things around so they have a space in your home. After all, they were there first…
3. Most people talk about money, savings goals, and raising children before getting married, but if you are crazy obsessive compulsive like someone I know (Fine. Like me.) I suggest getting it out in the open if you truly do care about which way the toilet paper should sit in the holder, using sponges on the counter, or clutter in the house. This doesn’t mean that your spouse will agree or always remember to put the toilet paper in right, but it will make you feel better to say it and admit you have a problem.
4. The person that you had so much in common with while you were dating no longer exists. Once you live together and really begin to share your lives in marriage, you tend to not agree so much. It isn’t that either of you have changed overnight, but you are turning two separate lives into one beautiful family and sometimes this process highlights your differences more so than your commonalities. For this reason, if you come across a big ticket item like a car (or in our case, a couch) that you both like, BUY IT. Trust me. We all know our possessions do not last forever and we cannot take them with us, but life can be so much easier if you both can retire to the couch in the evenings happily versus having a giant hulking reminder in your living room of the time you went couch shopping and it got ugly.
5. It is impossible for me to write about things I wish I knew as a newlywed without mentioning NFP. NFP is worth the time for your marriage but it can be challenging. Sometimes it is challenging because it shows you that getting pregnant will be difficult. My husband and I were married for nearly 5 years before conceiving our son. That was five years we spent in graduate school, getting to know each other and building a life, but it was also 5 years of disapproving looks from some folks that just knew we were being selfish in not having kids, five years of family and friends asking when the babies were coming, and five years of charting that showed little progress in the fertility compartment. Support each other in this. Find humor in this. Trust that there is a plan, and that your family can grow in many different ways. Sometimes all this is easier said than done, but it helps to remember that you are in it together.